FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Who will spend / manage the bond funds?
Accountability for the bond measure funds is provided by the Bond Oversight Committee. This committee is representative of our community and will provide a regular report to the Board of Education on the progress of the bond construction projects, as well as how funds are being utilized in alignment with Board and voter approval.
Q: Why did Weld RE-4 consider a bond program?
Growth in student enrollment in Weld RE-4 is aligned with new neighborhood developments within our boundaries. The towns of Severance and Windsor issued more than 1,200 single-family building permits in 2021. Active construction is occurring in the Promontory neighborhood of West Greeley, and there are multiple large projects in the approval stage with the City of Greeley.
Eight of our nine schools have exceeded their building capacity. To manage this challenge, we purchased additional modular buildings. Every single school in our district has at least one modular, with 21 modulars housing 72 classrooms districtwide.
Q: Where will the new elementary schools be located?
The new elementary schools will be located in the RainDance and Peakview neighborhoods.
The Peakview location will decrease overcrowding at three schools: Grandview, Range View, and Mountain View / Tozer. It will allow us to serve Severance families currently in Grandview’s boundary, at Range View.
Due to the size of the RainDance development, we expect to open the school with significant enrollment. This location will also accommodate enrollment from new housing developments on the western part of our district boundaries.
Locating elementary schools at Peakview and RainDance will balance enrollment at each of our K-5 campuses.
Q: How will the two new elementary schools benefit Severance elementary students?
We will redraw school boundaries, helping balance enrollment at all existing schools (including Range View Elementary in Severance) and addressing the capacity challenges. Currently, there is a small portion of Severance students being bused to Grandview in Windsor instead of Range View. Based on preliminary modeling, our hope is to redraw the boundaries in a way that allows more Severance elementary students to attend Severance schools.
Q: Which bond underwriter / issuer was selected and why?
We engaged RBC Capital Markets (Royal Bank of Canada) as the underwriter and issuer for the 2022 bond measure. RBC Capital Markets is one of the largest banks in the country and consistently ranks as one of the top underwriters nationally. Its Colorado public finance office has more than 100 years of history providing financial services to Colorado issuers. Serving Colorado School Districts as Dain Rauscher for nearly 100 years and now as RBC Capital Markets since 2005, RBC’s K-12 team has the most experience of any firm in Colorado in K-12 finance. Its Colorado team consistently ranks as the leading underwriter in the state and ranked as Colorado’s #1 senior manager in four of the last five years in K-12 underwriting. RBC was hired as a result of a competitive RFP in 2015 and has served us successfully since, providing outstanding service, transparency, and competitive rates. Just in the last few years, they've worked with 20+ Colorado districts on bond underwriting and issuance.
Q: Why does this bond contain so many projects?
Our needs extend across the district and at all levels of our system. We intended to bring a measure before voters in 2020, but delayed due to the global pandemic. The measure failed in 2021. Each year our needs compounded.
MILL LEVY OVERRIDE
Q: Why does this mill levy override not sunset?
Because this mill levy will be used for staff salaries beyond what our general fund revenue can provide, we do not look to have this mill levy override end.
Q: Why is this mill levy override a dollar amount versus a set mill rate increase?
We did not ask voters for a set mill levy rate, but rather a dollar amount. This provides voters an advantage. As the number of property owners and assessed property values increase, the amount of the mill levy override is spread across the community. As our community has grown over the years, we have typically seen a reduction in the mill levy override portion of your property taxes.
Q: Why did Weld RE-4 need to ask taxpayers for funding? Why doesn't growth pay for itself?
In Colorado, education is funded by state and local revenue. As our local communities grow and assessed values increase, local sources fund more and the state funds less. Our "net" as a district does not change, no matter how much our communities grow. Learn more about school funding.
Q: What is the difference between a bond and a mill levy override?
Typically, bond measures help fund capital projects (school construction), whereas a mill levy override funds operations (teacher salaries, operational costs, etc.).
Q: What about money for schools from the marijuana tax?
There are three ways marijuana is taxed in Colorado, one of them being an excise tax. Ninety percent or the first $40 million, whichever is greater, goes to the Capital Construction Assistance Fund, which contributes to the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program. BEST is a competitive grant program that funds the construction and renovation of existing schools. Given the costs of school facilities and the needs across our state, only a limited number of districts benefit each year.
Q: When will I see an increase on my tax bill for the 2022 bond and mill levy override?
The property tax increase for the bond and mill levy override appeared on the 2022 tax bill, which was collected / is being collected in 2023.
Q: What are developers currently paying in impact fees?
Under an Intergovernmental Agreement with our local municipalities — Severance, Greeley, and Windsor — we collect either funds or land, or a combination of both, from developers to offset the impact of new development on our district. The amount of funds is based on a calculation that includes the development value of the land and the number of residential units / rooftops. Depending on the type of development, single-family or multi-family homes, the fees range from $1,213 to $2,916.
Q: What is the status of the impact / developer fees? Are you going to raise the fees?
We recently completed a development impact fee study, which recommends that we increase the rates. These recommendations will be brought before the boards of our municipalities. If approved, our development impact fees would be the highest in the state.
Q: Are there tax relief resources available to support seniors on fixed incomes?
For eligible citizens ages 65 or older, 50% of the first $200,000 of actual value of the property can be exempted, and the state will pay the exempted property tax. This property tax exemption is available for Colorado residents who, by January 1 of the year you apply, are age 65 or older, and have owned and lived in their home (as their primary residence) for 10 consecutive years or more. Learn More
Q: Will you need to adjust school boundaries?
With the successful passage of bond measure 4B and the forthcoming new schools, we will need to adjust school boundaries in order to balance enrollment districtwide.
Q: What does the boundary adjustment process look like?
With the passage of the 2022 bond measure and the construction of three new schools, the district needed to adjust school boundaries to balance enrollment districtwide. The Board of Education convened a Boundary Committee representative of the community to lead this process. The committee has been working since June 2023 to gather feedback, analyze data, and develop a proposal that best balances schools now and in the available five-year forecast; maintains a continuity of experience for students; ensures efficient and effective transportation and district resources; and responds to community feedback. Learn More
Q: How do you select school sites?
We select sites for future schools based on a variety of factors, including the location within the district, land availability, transportation routes, population density, and growth projections. These are outlined in our Master Facility Plan, informed by recommendations from the Long Range Facility Planning Committee.
Q: How many schools are in Weld RE-4, and how many students do we serve?
Last school year (2022 - 2023), we served 8,228 students. The district boundary encompasses 103 square miles, and includes Windsor, Severance, West Greeley, and unincorporated Weld County. Our district is home to two high schools, two middle schools, four elementary schools, and one primary school. We also host one charter school that offers elementary, middle, and high school programs, as well as one charter school that offers grades K-8.
Q: How many of these students come from outside of our boundaries?
Due to capacity issues, we greatly limit how many choice applications we accept from students outside of our boundaries. For the 2022 - 2023 school year, there were 625 choice enrollment students, which includes Windsor Charter Academy students. It should also be noted that this number includes the children of our staff members and foreign exchange students.
Q: Why did you put modulars right off of Main Street at Windsor Middle?
We purchased five modulars (25 classrooms) to help manage growth last year. This is in addition to our 16 existing modulars (47 classrooms). Every single school in our district has at least one modular to support our capacity challenges in 2022 - 2023.
To reduce costs, the WMS modulars were purchased from another district and do not contain bathrooms. As a result, they have to be within 500 feet of the school (CCR 1010-6). This was the closest site that provides that access, as well as access to utility infrastructure.
Q: Would charter schools help alleviate growth?
Yes and no. As a school of choice, a charter school is open to students within and beyond the Weld RE-4 School District boundaries.